5 Reasons Why the Discovery Phase is Everything

You know what they say…. “If you fail to plan, then plan to fail.” 

This especially rings true when it comes to the fast-paced agency life. Research and planning are critical to a successful digital marketing campaign, so when a new client comes on board, the Discovery Phase is arguably the most important step in the process. Here are five reasons why:

1. This is when you get to hear from the client.

Generally speaking, the client usually already has a pretty good idea of who they are as a brand and who they are striving to be. You get to know their goals and pain points, areas where they’d like to improve, and how you can best help them. For new businesses, perhaps their primary goal is brand awareness. For others, it may be lead generation or website conversions. Having the opportunity to hear from the client gives the agency a jumping-off point and helps us start our roadmap to achieving goals

2. It allows you time to research the brand and the industry.

You’re able to read through documents like brand guidelines, existing marketing plans, recent media coverage, as well as explore their social media channels and overall digital presence. This is also where you’re able to look at the industry as a whole. For example, a recent Discovery Phase we did for a client in the home furnishings industry showed us that the industry is continuing to grow year-over-year due to factors like consumers’ increase in disposable income and millennials starting to purchase their first homes, thus needing home decor. This information is extremely helpful when planning a digital marketing campaign as it allows us to identify targeting opportunities and ensures we’re reaching the right people with our message.

3. You take a deep dive into any competitors.

You know what else they say…. “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer 😉.” That’s why it’s important to not only look at ourselves, but what other brands are doing in our space. There’s always a few major competitors that might have higher budgets, or smaller ones that could be a potential threat to current market share.Studying what’s working and what’s not working for competitors allows you to paint a bigger picture for your client of where they stand among other brands in the category, as well as set benchmarks for where they want to be.

4. You’re able to nail down the target audience.

After you’ve heard from the client, researched the industry and looked into the brand itself along with all the competitors, figuring out who our primary and secondary audiences are on each channel is the next step to success. After all, “Content is king,” but context is queen. Having the most creative and engaging content doesn’t really matter if you’re not showing it to the right people. What’s more, the target audience on one channel may not be the target audience on another. Going back to the recent Discovery Phase we did for a home furnishings client, we learned that on Facebook, around 20% of the people the brand was reaching were Women, ages 18-24. However, only 2% of the people engaging were Women, ages 18-24. From this, we can assume that either the content is not resonating with that audience or the targeting should be tweaked. Giving ourselves time to explore audiences on the back-end allows us to create a more informed target demographic, thus optimizing digital advertising spend.

5. You can strategize and set benchmarks for the account moving forward.

Research and data is our favorite because it helps to build the strategy. And the digital strategy is what ties it all together. In the final stage of the Discovery Phase, you set benchmarks and deliver a strategy to the client for how we will move forward. Those benchmarks and strategy are supported by using all the research you’ve done during the Discovery Phase. This is the last piece of the puzzle to ensuring a successful plan.

The final report delivered at the end of the Discovery Phase lets the client know we’ve done our homework. The client feels confident about where the brand is headed, and trust is built by reinforcing our recommendations with research and data. We’re not really sure what else they say, but at Parachute Media we say a good strategy can’t exist without the Discovery Phase.

A black and white border collie laying down in the grass with “Bark Madness Tournament” graphic overlaid.